Air India has become the world’s first airline to successfully deploy a Generative AI virtual agent. Named ‘Maharaja’, this agent is powered by Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI service. The project was introduced in the testing phase in March 2023. Air India claims that Maharaja has answered over half a million customer queries and currently handles more than 6,000 queries per day in four languages: Hindi, English, French, and German.
What does Maharaja AI assistant do?
Maharaja manages a wide range of customer queries across 1,300 areas, including flight status, baggage allowances, packing restrictions, check-in procedures, frequent flyer awards, airport lounge access, flight changes, and refunds.
Of the 6,000-plus questions received each day, Maharaja successfully answered over 80 per cent in seconds. For the remaining 15 per cent of queries that require additional assistance, Maharaja automatically recognizes this and transfers the query to Air India’s contact center agents.
Satya Ramaswamy, Chief Digital and Technology Officer at Air India, stated, “We are dedicated to providing the best possible service and experience to our valued guests across channels. We also want to be very responsive to their changing preferences. After the emergence of Large Language Model driven Generative AI capabilities, we are increasingly seeing a definitive shift in guest preferences to use chat interactions to get the information and support they need quickly and directly as compared to browsing several web pages.”
Reduced need for human intervention
The new AI-based chatbot will reduce the need for human intervention for basic queries. It also helps to automate repetitive and mundane tasks, such as booking, cancellation, confirmation, etc. According to the company, this new service will free up bandwidth for human agents to focus on more complex and value-adding interactions.
Air India has employed a strategy that involves blending of multiple traditional machine learning techniques alongside Generative AI. The company also claims to have established safeguards to prevent biased or harmful language from infiltrating its conversational AI system.
Marco Casalaina, Vice President, AI Platform, Microsoft, expressed his pleasure at Air India’s successful deployment of their AI-powered agent, Maharaja, and the use of Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service to provide a personalized and relevant customer experience. He said, “We are pleased to see Air India’s successful deployment of their AI-powered agent, Maharaja, and the use of Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service to provide a personalized and relevant customer experience. We believe that this is the beginning of a new era of customer service, and we look forward to seeing more organizations use the power of Generative AI and our AI-optimized Azure cloud to provide a seamless and efficient customer experience.”